By Dreams Unlimited Clubhouse Member
The season of both secular and religious holidays will soon be upon us and in the tradition of the season – these words from this holiday song will be one of the many that will be sung with furious repetition. Of course, the next three words of this song are “to be jolly”- which begs the question what does “jolly” mean and why should we be so, especially if the holiday season presumably provides us with a paucity (lack) of reasons to be jolly? For many who suffer from mental illness this is uniquely the case – for the holiday season tends to bring only the trappings (decorating, buying of presents, etc.) of this jolly thing and not the substance. These trappings can even exacerbate our symptoms. So, where is this true jolly of the season and how can we find it? Well, although, it may sound trite we can, indeed, find it in ourselves. For it is in ourselves that we can give to others.
It’s impossible to shy away from the constant barrage of news updates after a tragedy of Sandy Hook’s magnitude occurs. Each report is gut-wrenching and immediately personalizes your life. You think of your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces and wonder, “what if that was my family?”
Everyone is looking for answers to try and understand how something like this evil could even take place in our world. The continual shedding of tears as stories surface about teachers who sacrificed their lives for their students and 6-year olds being laid to rest.
Tragically, it’s truly a “where were you when you heard” moment in our history.
While the tragedy was unfolding, I, like most, was listening to the constantly updated news reports providing updates. We heard the name of the shooter, that his mother was one of the fatalities and was a teacher at Sandy Hook. All of a sudden the news was directing people to Ryan Lanza’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Only to find out a short time later that all of these “facts” weren’t true at all.
By Dreams Unlimited Clubhouse Member
“Baby Steps, Bob. Baby steps.” That’s the advice Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) gives Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) in the 1991 comedy film What About Bob. Those words took on special meaning for me this summer when I watched as my youngest grandchild, Melody, took her first baby steps. When I saw Melody pull up on the coffee table and try to stand, I knew she was ready to start walking. That gave me an idea. I arranged several sturdy pieces of furniture just far enough away so she could reach them as she practiced the new skills that would help her walk. It reminded me of how Dreams Unlimited Clubhouse helped me get back on my feet. Now I’m not only walking… I’m practicing for my wings!
A message for all parents, grandparents, and other caregivers.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and learned that it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month (and Thursday, April 11 is National Alcohol Screening Day®): a time to focus on a vast, and often unseen, problem. Excessive alcohol use accounted for an estimated average of 80,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of potential life lost in the U.S. each year during 2001-2005, and the economic costs of alcohol abuse in the United States are estimated to be approximately $185 billion annually.
Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that alcohol is a problem across all demographics, including children: approximately 20 percent of 8th graders, 35 percent of 10th graders, and 48 percent of 12th graders report having consumed alcohol during the past month.